The Port Arthur News
Southeast Texas’ version of the Heisman Trophy now has finalists for the 2012 season. At the Elegante Hotel in Beaumont Wednesday, four finalists on offense and defense were named for the 21st annual Willie Ray Smith Awards, with two players picking up consecutive finalist nominations and another being nominated both on offense and defense.
Vidor’s Montana Quirante pulled double duty, being nominated on offense for his work at quarterback for the Pirates and on defense as a linebacker. Quirante was also nominated on defense last year, just like East Chambers running back Glenn Roberts, who repeated as a finalist this year.
Quirante was named district MVP from 20-4A this season, also garnering an honorable mention spot on the Associated Press all-state team from Class 4A. The senior rushed for 1,931 yards and 33 touchdowns last season while throwing for 384 yards and three TDs. On defense, he had 147 tackles and two interceptions as the Pirates middle linebacker.
Roberts rushed for 2,140 yards and 35 touchdowns last season while catching 15 passes for 159 yards and a TD. The senior also earned District 10-2A MVP honors and was an AP all-state honorable mention.
Nederland picked up a pair of nominees in junior running back Kendrick Hopkins and senior linebacker Korbin Stampley. Stampley is vying to be the second straight Bulldog defender to take home the Defensive award, which will be given out at a banquet on Feb. 20. Hopkins will be trying to take home an offensive award for Nederland for the first time since fellow running back Micah Mosely won the award in 2007.
Stampley finished the season with 158 tackles, including three for a loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, five pass breakups and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. Hopkins rushed for 1,722 yards and 14 TDs while caching four passes for 50 yards. The junior became the first Bulldog to top 1,500 yards since Wareall Grogan in 2008.
Rounding out the offensive finalists is Port Arthur Memorial quarterback Ricky Fisk, who threw for 2,256 yards with 22 TDs and ran for 983 yards and 14 TDs last season. Fisk is trying to make Memorial the first school to win back-to-back offensive awards, after former Titan Terrence Singleton won the award last season. Only six quarterbacks have won the award in the last 20 years, while 13 running backs have taken home the hardware.
On defense, West Orange-Stark’s Joe Lynch and Newton’s Corey Jenkins join Stampley and Quirante as finalists. After Stampley’s former teammate Corbin Carr won the Defense award last season, snapping a seven-year drought for defensive linemen winning the award, all four defensive nominations this season are linebackers. West Brook linebacker Colin Garrett won the award in 2011 and linebackers have won the award in four of the last seven years.
Port Neches-Groves got shut out of both sets of finalists for the second straight year. No Mid or South County player had won either award since 2007, before Mid and South County swept the award last year. Quirante is vying to become the first Vidor player to ever win either award.